Doubting Thomas

As a rule of thumb, we wish only misery and ruin on Bitcoin investors for daring to make the phenomenon sound any more sophisticated than a Bet365 advert. But our maniacal propensity for schadenfreude failed us when we heard the story of Stefan Thomas, the scatty San Francisco programmer who forgot the password to a hard drive currently worth more than £160m.

In 2011, Thomas was hired to make an animated video about Bitcoin, and was enough of a sport to trade his services like a cow for 7,002 of the things. Our man’s only mistake was being far cooler than all the other blowhards and not taking himself too seriously with it, losing the scrap of paper he’d scribbled his IronKey digital wallet password on in the process.

With the erratic cryptocurrency broadly enjoying a purple patch over the past eight months (ahead of what we sincerely pray will become a 1p-in-the-box endgame for so many), computer scientist Alex Stamos has offered to help Thomas – for a 10% cut.

“Um, for $220m in locked-up Bitcoin, you don’t make 10 password guesses but take it to professionals to buy 20 IronKeys and spend six months finding a side-channel or uncapping,” he tweeted. “I’ll make it happen for 10%. Call me.”

See, just for that “um”, Thomas should frisbee that hard drive into the Golden Gate.

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